The Portland Trail Blazers took down the New York Knicks and Miami Heat in their last week of games, the latter of which made Portland’s win streak hit double-digits. That 10-game win streak can easily be attributed to Damian Lillard catching fire like he usually does after the All-Star break, but even his 32.5 points per game over that stretch is catching people off guard.
One of those people is Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, who gave a tip of his cap to Lillard for his MVP-like season (via Erik Garcia Gunderson of the Associated Press):
“The guy is playing fantastic. He might be one of those guys, you’ve got to start talking about that MVP too, with the way he’s playing,” Hornacek said after the game.
Hornacek isn’t the only opposing coach giving Lillard praise. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gushed about Lillard after he hit seven 3-pointers on his team (also from Gunderson’s report):
”I don’t know if there is any other player in this league right now that is playing at a higher level than Lillard,” Spoelstra said. “You know the names in the MVP conversation. The way he’s playing right now and winning, he deserves to be in that conversation as well.”
”It’s not just about him being a great player, it is the timing of his greatness, that is so unique,” Spoelstra added. “Every time there needs to be a big time play, or if momentum started to go our way, he made that play.”
During the 10-game win streak, Lillard is averaging 32.5 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game on 45.8 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from 3-point land. He’s earned national media praise and attention as a possible MVP candidate over this past month of games.
Lillard will take on a former MVP in LeBron James on Thursday.